Saturday 10th March brought the Kelly's Olympic Dream fundraising tournament and exhibition event to St Nicholas Park Leisure Centre in Warwick.
The event was very well supported by people from the local area and further afield and ten groups took to the tables from 9.15am to play round robin groups, with medals going to the first and second placed players in the groups.
The event attracted a wide range of players, including a strong first group, and the winners were as follows:
After the tournament there was a brief break as the tables were cleared away to leave a single court for the exhibition to start. Kelly and Alan Cooke, former six times National Men's Champion, took to the court and shared the spoils in two games before a number of challenge matches were played.
Alan Cooke faced local players Chris Mulligan and Deepak Chandrababu, whilst Kelly took on two of the juniors from Lillington Free Church TTC, the club of which she is the President, in Solomon Hayes and Olivia Fletcher.
Another youngster, Tom Meldrum, then took to the table to demonstrate a multiball practice; Alan giving a few helpful hints as Kelly fed the balls. A very good showing from Tom, but Alan then assumed the role of feeder and put Kelly through her paces to show us just what a huge difference in speed, power and recovery there is at international level.
Kelly was then given a few moments to catch her breath, before she and Alan resumed their battle to play out the remainder of their match. The last two legs were something to behold with a combination of raw power in the attack, high balloon lobs in defence, rapid close to the table exchanges and even some chop defence by Alan against Kelly's topspin, with Alan using a frying pan!
An exhilarating final set went the distance and then some, with Kelly finally running out the winner 3-1 after a marathon deuce game.
What had already been a superb day was given an additional boost when the fund raising efforts were counted, and Kelly was presented with a cheque for a very impressive £3,500 which will undoubtedly help her with her many training, travel and living expenses in the run up to London 2012.
A huge thank you is due to all the people who contributed to the event by organising, playing, cooking, donating prizes and much much more, with a special thanks to Dorothy Macfarlane, for being the driving force behind the event, Alan Cooke for giving his time to support Kelly, Dale Ajeto for doing a tremendous job as MC throughout the exhibition, and OLBG, Tees Sport, Warwick District Council for their help and generosity to make this event happen.